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Our first Zoom taster session was a collaboration between Paul Colley and the Thursday artist team. Zoom doesn’t work for everyone – technology can be frustrating and it can feel there’s a lot of expectation, which can raise anxiety. However, given Paul’s fascination with pictures of things that interest him and the people in his life, we felt it was a good place to start.

Georgie Scott (Paul’s main collaborator in the studio) planned this non-verbal session, keeping in mind Paul’s interests and preferences. We focused on colour and close-ups of faces, using differing expressions to engage and change the energy. Paul and the whole team used coloured gels to create a dynamic scene in Zoom’s gallery view, which could be enjoyed by everyone. The group session transitioned naturally into a one-to-one session in which Georgie and Paul continued their work together. They spent time together examining “objects of reference” from the studio – items that acted as reminders of life before lockdown -such as photographs they had taken at Hastings Contemporary a couple of weeks beforehand.

Our studio practice is all about observing the minute details of behaviour and presenting a creative offer that responds to that. We were apprehensive about whether that could be re-created in a digital space. In our debrief, we identified what worked particularly well and will continue to build on those strengths in the coming weeks. For the first week, though, the absolute highlight – and something that tells us we are on the right track – was when Paul turned to his support worker during the group session and made the Makaton sign for “friends”.

We can’t wait to see our friend Paul again soon.

Find out more about Paul and his work by visiting his Maker page.

Written by: Katie Taylor, Creative Programme Manager.